Interested in all things product?
Then please join me and my friend and esteemed colleague Thomas Otter on Thursday mornings at 8 am pacific for a series we’re calling The SaaS Product Power Breakfast where Thomas and I will interview invited special guests and engage the audience in discussing all things product, including:
- Product management
- Product strategy
- Product marketing
- Product design
- Product positioning
- Product roadmaps
- Product requirements (to generalize or not to generalize)
- Application / platform dynamics
- Product input and feedback processes
- Pricing strategies
- Product portfolios
- Product-led growth
- Managing new vs. existing products
- The transition from 1 to N products
- Product development processes (e.g., agile, scrum)
- Minimum viable product
- Managing product managers
- The transition to general manager (GM)
- And much more
For those on Clubhouse, here’s a link to the first event. If you’ve not tried Clubhouse yet, well here’s a great reason to join — ask a friend (or us) for an invite if you need one. Finally, we’ll be making recordings of the episodes available as a podcast (which took about four episodes to figure out).
My interest in product stems from my overall fascination with strategy and my experience in product marketing at Ingres (RDBMS), CMO at Versant (ODBMS) and Business Objects (BI/analytics), SVP/GM at Salesforce.com (Service Cloud), and CEO at MarkLogic (NoSQL) and Host Analytics (Planning). That’s not to mention lesser involvement in strategy working in board and/or advisory mode at companies including Aster Data (NoSQL), Nuxeo (ECM/DAM), and Alation (data intelligence).
Thomas’ interest in product stems from his infinite curiosity about the intersection between technology and people. Thomas was part of the leadership team that scaled SuccessFactors to over 50M end users, managing not only product but literally scores of product managers. Prior to that Thomas was an analyst at Gartner where he drove the HRTECH research agenda that helped shape the industry. Truly a multidisciplinary thinker, Thomas’ PhD dissertation “sits awkwardly at the intersection of IT, law, and business.” He’s thus a heck of an interesting guy to talk to.
See you there!
Posted in PLG, Pricing, Product Management, Product Strategy, SaaS, Silicon Valley, Startups, Strategy
Tagged Clubhouse, Dave Kellogg, Product Power Breakfast, Thomas Otter
This post was prompted by feedback to the last prediction in my 2021 annual predictions post, The Rebirth of Planning and Enterprise Performance Management. Excerpt:
EPM 1.0 was Hyperion, Arbor, and TM1. EPM 2.0 was Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, and Planful (nee Host Analytics). EPM 3.0 is being born today. If you’ve not been tracking this, here a list of next-generation planning startups …
Since that post, I’ve received feedback with several more startups to add to the list and a request for a little more color on each one. That’s what I’ll cover in this post. I can say right now this got bigger, and took way longer, than I thought it would at the outset. That means two things: there may be more mistakes and omissions than usual and wow if I thought the space was being reborn before, I really think it now. Look at how many of these firms were founded in the past two years!
Order is alphabetical. Links are to sources. All numbers are best I could find as of publication date (and I have no intent to update). I have added and/or removed companies from the prior post based on feedback and my subjective perception as to whether I think they qualify as “next generation” planning. Note that I have several and varied relationships with some of these companies (see prior post and disclaimers). List is surely not inclusive of all relevant companies.
- Allocadia. Founded in Vancouver in 2010 by friends from Business Objects / Crystal Reports, this is a marketing performance management company that has raised $24M in capital and has 125 employees. Marketing planning is a real problem and they’re taking, last I checked, the enterprise approach to it. They have 93 reviews and 4.1 stars on G2.
- Causal. Founded in 2019 in London. I can’t find them in Crunchbase, but their site shows they have seed capital from Coatue and Passion Capital. They promise, among other things, to “make finance beautiful” and the whole thing strikes me as a product-led growth strategy for a new tool to build financial models outside of traditional spreadsheets.
- Decipad. Co-founded in late 2020 in the UK by friend, former MarkLogic consultant, and serial entrepreneur Nuno Job, Decipad is a seed-stage, currently fewer than 10 employee, startup that, last I checked, was working on a low-code product for planning and modeling for early-stage companies.
- Finmark. Raleigh-based, and founded in 2020, this company has raised $5M in seed capital from a bevy of investors including Y Combinator, IDEA Fund, Draper, and Bessemer. The company has about 50 employees, a product in early access mode, and is a product built “by founders, for founders” to provide integrated finance for startups.
- Grid. This company offers a web-based tool that appears to layer atop spreadsheets, using them as a data source to build reports, dashboards and apps. The company was founded in 2018, has around 20 people, and is based in Reykjavik. The founder/CEO previously served as head of product management at Qlik and is a “proud data nerd.” Love it.
- LiveFlow was founded in 2021, based in Redwood City, has raised about $500K in pre-seed capital from Y Combinator and Seedcamp. The company offers a spreadsheet that connects to your real-time data, supporting the creation of timely reports and dashboards. Connectivity appears to be the special sauce here, and it’s definitely a problem that needs to be solved better.
- OnPlan. Founded in 2106 in San Francisco by serial entrepreneur and new friend, David Greenbaum, OnPlan is a financial modeling, scenario analysis, and forecasting tool. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of angel financing and has over 30 employees. Notably, they are building atop Google Sheets which allows them “stand on the shoulders of giants” and provide a rare option that is, I think, Google-first as opposed to Excel-first or Excel-replacement.
- PlaceCPM. Founded in 2018 in Austin, this company takes a focused approach, offering forecasting and planning for SaaS and professional services businesses, built on the Salesforce platform, and with pricing suggestive of an SMB/MM focus. The company has raised $4M in pre- and seed financing. The product gets 4.9 stars on G2 across 13 reviews.
- Plannuh. Pronounced with a wicked Southie accent, Plannuh is Boston for Planner, and a marketing planning package that helps marketers create and manage plans and budgets. Founded by (a fellow) former $1B company CMO, Peter Mahoney, the company has raised $4M and has over 30 employees. As mentioned, I think marketing planning is a real problem and these guys are taking a velocity approach to it. They have 5.0 stars on G2 across five reviews. I’m an advisor and wrote the foreword to their The Next CMO book.
- Pry. Founded in San Francisco in 2019 by two startup-experienced Cal grads (Go Bears!), with investment from pre-seed fund Nomo Ventures, Pry has fewer than 10 employees, and a vision to make it simple for early-stage companies to manage their budget, hiring plan, financial models, and cash.
- Runway. This company is backed with a $4.5M seed round from the big guns at A16Z. I can’t find them on Crunchbase and their website has the expected “big thinking but no detail” for a company that’s still in stealth. Currently at about 10 people.
- Stratify. Founded in 2020 in Seattle, this company has raised $5.0M to pursue real-time and collaborative budgeting and forecasting to support “continuous planning” (which is reminiscent of Planful’s messaging). Both the founder and the lead investor have enterprise roots (with SAP / Concur) and plenty of startup experience. The company has fewer than 10 employees today.
- TruePlan. Founded in 2020, with three employees, and seemingly bootstrapped I may have found these guys on the early side. While the product appears still in development, the vision looks clear: dynamic headcount management, that ties together the departmental (budget owner) manager, finance, recruiting, and people ops. Workforce planning is a real problem, let’s see what they do with it.
- Vareto. Founded in 2020 in Mountain View, with fewer than 10 employees and some pretty well pedigreed founders, the company seeks to help with strategic finance, reporting, and planning. The website is pretty tight-lipped beyond that and I can’t find any public financing information.
Thanks to Ron Baden, Nuno Job, and Bill Rausch for helping me track down so many companies.
(Added Valsight 2/10/21.)